Minor children in Quezon City are not allowed in all public places, whether alone or accompanied by parent or guardian and without any justification, to protect them from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Mayor Joy Belmonte approved Ordinance No. SP-2985, S-2020, or the “Quezon City Special Protection of Children against COVID-19”, directing all those below 18 years old to remain at home during the so-called “Children Protection Hours” or 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
“Ang Ordinansang ito ay batay sa rekomendasyon ng mga dalubhasa sa Philippine Pediatric Society na kailangang manatili ang mga menor-de-edad sa mga tahanan dahil malaki ang tsansa na sila’y mahawa,” said Mayor Belmonte.
“Ang kautusang ito ay para na rin sa kapakanan ng ating mga kabataan upang hindi na malagay sa panganib ang kanilang buhay,” she added.
Under the Ordinance introduced by Majority Floor Leader Franz Pumaren and Councilors Donato Matias, Eric Medina, Victor Ferrer and Shaira Liban, minors are not allowed to roam around, loiter around, wander, stay, remain or meander in all public places, whether alone or even accompanied by parent or guardian, without lawful purpose or justifiable reason.
Public places include streets, highway, sidewalks, parking lots, vacant lots, and the common areas in and about churches, apartment, buildings, office buildings, hospitals, schools, malls or shopping centers, commercial establishments and places of entertainment such as movie theaters and similar places or establishments.
The Ordinance provides several exemptions, such as:
- If the minor is engaged in an authorized employment activity requiring physical presence, provided that they are accompanied by parent or guardian.
- Those seeking medical attention or with medical/dental appointments, provided that they are accompanied by parent or guardian.
- Those transiting for international or domestic air/sea travel as proved by pre-booked tickets, provided that they are accompanied by parent or guardian.
- In extreme case of need to buy/purchase essential goods, provided that no other person of legal age living with the minor can perform such duty.
- Those attending to, or in experience of, an emergency situation such as conflagration, earthquake, hospitalization, road accident, or any situation requiring immediate action to prevent serious bodily injury or loss of life.
Parents or guardians of minor children who violate the Ordinance will be fined P300, P500 and P1,000 for the first, second and third and subsequent offenses, respectively.
Minor children, for their part, will be turned over to the Barangay Council for the protection of Children (BCPC) of the barangay where they are apprehended and will be required to undergo counseling before they are turned over to their parent or guardian.
For the third and subsequent offenses, in addition to counseling, the minor children will be subjected to intervention program of the Social Services and Development Department (SSDD).
Owners, proprietors and managers of malls or shopping centers, commercial establishments, places of entertainment such as movie theaters who violate the Ordinance will face a fine of P500 for every violation for the first offense.
For the second offense, aside from the P1,000 fine for every violation, they will receive a warning for the revocation of business permit/license and closure of establishment.
For the third and subsequent offense, a fine of P3,000 for every violation and revocation of business permit/license and closure of establishment will be meted.